Are Revolutions Contagious?
Central and Eastern Europe
The panel addressed the role of civil society in the democratic transitions of Central and Eastern Europe. The chosen topic was important from both the academic and policy perspectives. As for the former, the leverage of civic activism in the 1989 upheavals in Central Europe and the more recent “coloured” revolutions in Eastern Europe remains a widely debated issue; the interconnected nature of the events – i.e. their wave-like pattern and similarities – continue to be conceptualized. As for the latter, investigation of the civic activists’ experience and know-how – or “political technology” – is of relevance to the Western democracy promotion community, which hopes to encourage similar changes in undemocratic societies elsewhere, most notably in Central Asia or Africa. In general, the panel sought to draw transferable lessons from Central and Eastern Europe’s democratic transitions.
› The debate was moderated by JOHN LLOYD, Director for Journalism of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Oxford
› MARTIN BUTORA, dissident and Slovak ambassador to the USA
› FILIP DIMITROV former Prime Minister of Bulgaria and ambassador to the UN and the USA
› IRAKLI KAKABADZE, activist and poet
› ALYAKSANDR MILINKIEVICH, Belarussian united opposition leader in 2006